Consider this BBC profile of Bangladesh:
Poverty is deep and widespread; almost half of the population live on less than one dollar a day. However, Bangladesh has reduced population growth and improved health and education.
Because you’ve got to start with your people. Then, you’ve got to find ways for them to maximize their gains.
The country is trying to diversify its economy, with industrial development a priority. Overseas investors have pumped money into manufacturing and the energy sector.
Although Bangladesh has major social issues that make it exceptionally fragile, it’s how it’s moving forward that’s interesting.
Bangladesh has begun building the first of two new nuclear power plants north of the capital, Dhaka.
The plants - each with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts - are being constructed with Russian help as Bangladesh looks to close a yawning power deficit.
I believe the facility will be called Rippur.
According to the CIA World Factbook, the country now gets 95 percent of its electricity (about 5.8 million kilowatts in 2009) from fossil fuels. The nuclear reactors will reduce this percentage immediately, even if they do not replace any other kind of facility. (I ran into stories talking about renewable energy in Bangladesh, but aside from hydro, this is all nascent.)
But the facility might replace a few older plants:
Bangladesh currently relies on dilapidated gas-fired plants for its power supplies and experiences daily electricity shortfalls.
Erratic electricity supplies have been blamed for hampering industrial production and economic growth.
I can’t help but think that a nuclear facility would be safer, too. “Dilapidated” is not the word you want applied to your power station.